New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has used his first comments on the controversial departure of Shaun Johnson to say he has '"no problem" with the Kiwis great.
After the Sharks unveiled the 29-Test veteran on a three-year deal last week, talk turned to reports of a rift between Kearney and Johnson.
Johnson fanned those flames when he said Kearney "didn't like me".
Kearney responded to those comments on Monday, insisting he has no ill-will towards Johnson.
"Certainly over the last couple of weeks, there's been a fair bit said about it all," Kearney said.
"I'm not going to repeat what Cameron [George] and Brian [Smith] - but sometimes a situation presents itself in our game and there's not a great deal we can do about it now."
Quizzed on how much say he had in the decision to grant a release, Kearney was direct.
RTS denies suggestions of Johnson rift
"Shaun requested a release from the final year with the club and after some careful thought, we didn't want to keep a guy here who didn't want to be here," he said.
"As to how much say [I had], I'm not going to go into that. I've got no problem with Shaun."
"I heard about that comment on the weekend and I can honestly say, after spending close to 20 Test matches working with him and certainly at close quarters over the last two years, and we've got a pretty comprehensive review process at seasons end, with not only myself but other senior management at the club, and I've got an open door in the football area.
It's really important that we remind ourselves of the contribution that he made to our footy clubStephen Kearney on Shaun Johnson
"And the first time I heard about that was two weeks ago following a request for a release."
Even though the relationship ended in far from desired circumstances, Kearney said Johnson's contribution to the club should be celebrated.
"I think it's really important that we remind ourselves of the contribution that he made to our footy club," he said.
"He played 162 games and has provided a great deal of highlights to our members and fans and that shouldn't be forgotten."
As soon as the dust settled following Johnson's exit, attention turned to finding a replacement.
"That's a process we are now working through. The recruitment decisions, they're really important ones and we are not going to be panicked into making any rash decisions," he said.
"We've got a couple of young guys here and when you're presented with a challenge it gives others an opportunity."